Ex-Syracuse running back Ali Culpepper, a former two-time All-Metro who helped Dunbar win back-to-back state titles, yesterday signed a national letter of intent to play under full scholarship for Morgan State.
Citing the illnesses of his grandfathers, Harry Smith and George Culpepper, Ali Culpepper, who averaged 4.6 yards in six games as a true freshman for the Orangemen last year, received his official release two weeks ago from Division I-A Syracuse and, under NCAA rules, has three years of remaining eligibility and can play immediately for Stump Mitchell's Division I-AA Morgan State.
"Ali's a ballplayer who can help us out in a number of different areas," Mitchell said. "It's a great move for us and a great move for him."
Culpepper plans to begin practicing with the Bears in August.
"Morgan's coaches visited me at home when I was coming out of high school, so I always had them in mind," said Culpepper, who had been contacted by Duke and Clemson since being released by the Orangemen. "Their coaches work hard, and with the new stadium, I like the way they're headed."
At 5 feet 11, 215 pounds, Culpepper said he is stronger (he can bench-press 340 pounds) and faster (4.35-second 40-yard dash) than he was as a Dunbar senior, when he was ranked as high as No. 4 nationally among fullbacks by the National Recruiting Advisor and received full scholarship offers from Michigan State, Northwestern, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Duke.
In four seasons at Dunbar, Culpepper rushed for 4,817 yards and 44 touchdowns. Dunbar was 42-7 with him in the lineup.
Pub Date: 5/19/98